Soul Food

Soul Food : Nourishing Poems for Starved Minds

4.24 (74 ratings by Goodreads)

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Expected delivery to the United States in 6-9 business days.

Not ordering to the United States? Click here.


"Soul Food" is a feast of thoughtful poems to stir the mind and feed the spirit. Drawn from many traditions, ranging from Rumi, Kabir and Blake, to Rilke, Emily Dickinson and Paul Celan, this wide-ranging selection includes enormously varied work by celebrated contemporary poets such as Jane Hirshfield, Denise Levertov, Thomas Merton and Mary Oliver, as well as by many lesser-known writers from all periods and places. The anthology opens with a series of poems on human life and spiritual sustenance, starting with Rumi: 'This being human is a guest house./Each morning a new arrival...'. The poems which follow explore many ways of keeping body and soul together, offering food for thought on knowing yourself, living with nature, who or what is God...All are universal illuminations of the meaning of life, speaking to readers of all faiths as well as to searchers and non-believers. "Soul Food" shows how poetry can help feed our hunger for meaning in times of spiritual starvation.
show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 160 pages
  • 174 x 163 x 15.24mm | 249.48g
  • Tyne and Wear, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1852247665
  • 9781852247669
  • 52,298

Table of contents

Soul Food includes Anna Akhmatova, Maya Angelou, Coleman Barks, William Blake, John Burnside, Paul Celan, Chuang-Tzu, Emily Dickinson, Thich Nhat Hanh, Jane Hirshfield, George Herbert, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Kabir, Jane Kenyon, Lal Ded (Lalla), DH Lawrence, Denise Levertov, Thomas Merton, Czeslaw Milosz, Naomi Shihab Nye, Mary Oliver, Amrita Pritam, Rainer Maria Rilke, Rumi, St John of the Cross, Edith Soedergran, Anna Swir, Wislawa Szymborska, Shinkichi Takahashi, RS Thomas, and many others...
show more

Review quote

'These poems illuminate the path of life.' - Rachel Campbell-Johnston, The Times

'These poems will reconnect you with happiness, kindness, beauty and joy. They will teaqch you how to be here, now, fully aware and alive... Buy this book! You will be investing in happiness for days - and even dark lonely nights - to come.' - Anne Ashworth, Universalist: The Journal of the Quaker Universalist Group

'A friend gave me a copy of Soul Food as a gift... I thought it was so good that I gave it away to another friend within a matter of days, and bought myself a new copy, which I also gave away... I continue to buy copies for friends... I have read this book through from beginning to end a number of times now, and each time I am left with my spirit uplifted and a wondrous sense of warm joy in my soul. Not only is each poem fine, but reading the whole collection reads feels like the privilege of sharing another human's spiritual journey for a while.' - Henry Morgan, The Merton Journal

'Soul Food is an extremely attractive book. Of all the books lying about my house, more visitors have been drawn to wanting to borrow this than any other... It contains work by many of my favourite poets, but more importantly it whets my appetite with new discoveries... I recommend buying copies to keep and give away.' - Chris Kinsey, Envoi

'Soul Food, like another Bloodaxe anthology, Do Not Go Gentle: poems for funerals, captures the elusive overlapping oval in the Venn diagram of poetry-that-is-serious and poetry-that-breaks-your-heart.' - Martin Wroe, Church Times
show more

About Neil Astley

Neil Astley is editor of Bloodaxe Books, which he founded in 1978. His books include novels, poetry collections and anthologies, most notably the Bloodaxe Staying Alive trilogy: Staying Alive (Bloodaxe, UK 2002/ Miramax, US 2003), Being Alive (2004) and Being Human (2011), along with Essential Poems from the Staying Alive Trilogy (2012). His other anthologies (all these from Bloodaxe) include Earth Shattering: ecopoems (2007), The Hundred Years' War: modern war poems (2014), and three collaborations with with Pamela Robertson-Pearce, Soul Food: nourishing poems for starved minds (2008), and the DVD-books In Person: 30 Poets (2008) and In Person: World Poets (2017). He has published two novels, The End of My Tether (2002), which was shortlisted for the Whitbread First Novel Award, and The Sheep Who Changed the World (2005). In 2012 Candlestick Press published his selection of Ten Poems About Sheep in its renowned pamphlet series. In 2015 he guest-edited a special international issue of the American literary journal Ploughshares, its first all-poetry issue in its 44-year history. He received an Eric Gregory Award for his poetry from the Society of Authors in 1982 and was given a D.Litt from Newcastle University for his work with Bloodaxe Books in 1995. He is a trustee of Ledbury Poetry Festival, and a Visiting Fellow at Newcastle University. He was made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2018.
show more

Rating details

74 ratings
4.24 out of 5 stars
5 51% (38)
4 23% (17)
3 24% (18)
2 1% (1)
1 0% (0)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X